Sharapova makes winning return in Stanford
Maria Sharapova made a solid return from injury, getting through her opening match at the Bank of the West Classic on Monday.
The Russian, in action for the first time since since May, was too good for American Jennifer Brady 6-1 4-6 6-0 at the WTA Premier event.
Sharapova, who made her return from a doping ban in April, was handed a wildcard into the tournament and needed two hours, two minutes to get past Brady in Stanford.
After breaking serve four times in the opening set, Sharapova – the 2010 runner-up – quickly fell behind 3-0 in the second, and while the five-time grand slam champion recovered briefly, Brady forced a decider.
But Sharapova took control once more in the third set, breaking three times to advance.
Meanwhile, seeds Ana Konjuh and Lesia Tsurenko were comfortable in the first round.
Konjuh held a 6-3 1-0 lead over Marina Erakovic when the qualifier from New Zealand retired.
Tsurenko made it three straight-sets wins from as many meetings with Lara Arruabarrena courtesy of a 6-3 6-3 victory and the Ukrainian will face Sharapova.
Talented American Kayla Day, 17, cruised past Misaki Doi 6-4 6-2, Russian Natalia Vikhlyantseva was too good for qualifier Danielle Lao 6-4 6-3 and Nicole Gibbs beat teenwildcard Claire Liu in three sets.